INGSA 2021 - Build back wiser: knowledge, policy and publics in dialogue

Organizer(s) International Network for Government Science Advice

Over 100 speakers from across Science Advice and Science Diplomacy

Humanity’s greatest societal, technological and political challenges are exposed at the intersection of science and policy, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made them even more visible.

From increasing epistemic risk to decreasing public trust in institutions and expertise, many complex and interrelated threats have been accelerated by the virus in the context of rapid digitalisation, social inequalities, and political polarisation. This is shifting the theory and practice of science advice to governments.

There is no singular future trajectory for the field, but a multiplicity of possible pathways which address the diverse contexts and the dramatic shifts in the relationship between science, policy and civil society.

The INGSA2021 conference will be a 4-day interactive hybrid conference, hosted by the Chief Scientist of Quebec, in collaboration with the Chief Science Advisor of Canada. We expect that most delegates will have to join digitally and that only Canadian participants will be able to join the conference in person, due to ongoing travel restrictions.

The conference will be an opportunity to examine the direct and indirect lessons from the pandemic, while looking to the future for the global community as we build back wiser.


Promise and Pandemic: Reshaping Science Advice

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed a lot about evidence-informed advising globally. We have seen established institutions fail, while new and ad hoc efforts show promise. What structural changes might be needed at different levels? What does ‘inclusive science advice’ look like? Is it even possible? In what ways does context matter?

Foresight and Resilience: From SDGs to Emerging Technologies 

Long before Covid-19 changed our lives and livelihoods, the challenges of unexamined digitalisation, climate chaos and biodiversity loss, to name a few, posed significant collective risks. Their drivers are multiple, interacting, and now entangled with pandemic effects.  So too are their impacts. How can science advice help to ensure preparedness – not just for crises, but for all of the societal transitions that sustainable development demands? Is a new kind of science advice is needed?

Evidence and Democracy: Sustaining Trust in a Challenging World

Science advice, no matter how inclusive, well-organised and ably-delivered, increasingly struggles with misinformation and mistrust.  Yet its role in democracies seems more crucial than ever. What practices and principles should underpin trust and legitimacy in science advice? How can deliberative and other democratic processes better cope with uncertain knowledge, coupled with the need for speed?

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